Third opener and wicketkeeper issues for India to resolve prior to Australia Tests

India will travel to Australia for a lengthy series beginning in November.

Rishabh Pant of India
Rishabh Pant of India. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

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Team India might have thrashed the Windies in the two-match Test series, but still, have several issues to address prior to the important series against Australia. Virat Kohli’s side is scheduled to play four Test matches against Australia, which get underway on December 6 at the Adelaide Oval.

Having returned home after a humiliating 1-4 defeat at the hands of England, India were able to find some positives during the Tests against the Windies. Prithvi Shaw’s prospects as a long-term India opener look bright after he bagged the Man of the Series award earlier this week in his debut series. But the no.1 Test team still have grey areas that need attention, namely who their third opener and their wicketkeeper will be.

Earlier this month, both of India’s premier Test openers Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan were axed from the side following their failures in England. Vijay went on to amass runs in those very same English conditions when playing for Essex, while Dhawan was the highest run-getter in India’s victorious Asia Cup campaign.

Nevertheless, the team management decided to side with KL Rahul and also try out young Prithvi Shaw. While the 18-year old delivered in style, Rahul’s poor run with the bat leaves the management with further selection woes. Mayank Agarwal was also drafted into the side but is yet to make his Test debut for Team India.

Speaking after India’s 10-wicket victory over the Windies in Hyderabad, captain Virat Kohli said, “I am sure KL will look at his errors and look to rectify them. There is no doubt about his attitude and how he goes about his game. He is very positive in his head and he is someone who also appreciates people telling him his faults which is a quality to have.”

Parthiv Patel and Rishabh Pant as keepers?

Similarly, India’s first-choice Test wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha has been out with injury. His last match for India was in Cape Town in January this year, following which he had to undergo surgery. Saha is unlikely to make a comeback to the Indian team anytime soon.

India tried out veteran Dinesh Karthik, but his failures with the bat forced Rishabh Pant into the side. While Pant’s batting abilities look fairly promising, his work behind the stumps has been criticized by many already. Rishabh Pant has only played five Test matches for India till now. However, former India keeper Deep Dasgupta was tempted to look at playing Parthiv Patel in Australia come December.

“As I have said earlier, I won’t mind looking at someone like Parthiv, who can hit horizontal bat shots well. He can be a reserve opener as well as the second keeper,” he said.

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